God's Plan In the Church:

Study Guide
by David Chadwell

Lesson 1  |  Lesson 2  |  Lesson 3  |  Lesson 4  |  Lesson 5  |  Lesson 6  |
  Lesson 7  |  Lesson 8  |  Lesson 9  |  Lesson 10  |  Lesson 11  |  Lesson 12

Lesson Four

The concept of the Christian community:

The Christian community in Rome:

The Christian community in Rome struggled with some major issues. Among the issues were: (1) Shame created by a message of "good news" that focused on a crucified Savior [1:16,17]. (2) The role of judging others [chapter 2]. (3) Jewish Christians who resented non-Jewish Christians [chapter 3]. (4) Opposition to Christian teachings regarding the role of faith in salvation [chapter 4]. (5) Opposition to Christian teachings regarding the role of grace in salvation [chapter 6]. (6) Opposition to the Christian teaching that obedience to law could not liberate a person [chapters 7 and 8]. (6) An attack on God for being unjust [chapter 9]. (7) Rejection of the teaching that God preferred non-Jews who responded to Christ over Israelites who rejected Christ.

Chapters 1-11 dealt with "theological issues" existing in this Christian community composed of Jews and non-Jews. In this section, Paul challenged their concepts. In chapters 12-16 Paul made practical application of correct concepts.

As Paul began the second section (chapter 12), first he urged them to be living sacrifices through renewed minds that were committed to God's will. Second, he focused them on the true nature of the Christian community. Read 12:3-8.

1. A Christian was not to do what in his or her thinking [verse 3]?

2. How were they to think?

3. What point about a physical body does Paul make in verse 4?

4. How did Paul apply that point to the Christian community in verse 5?

5. How many "we ares" are found in verse 5?

  1. "We are"__________________.

  2. "We are" __________________.

  3. "We are" _____________________.

  4. Explain "we are individually members one of another."

6. What point did Paul make about the gifts they possessed in verse 6 through 8?

7. What is your understanding of Paul's emphasis in these verses?

The Christian community in Corinth:

These Christians are the symbol of converts who failed to grasp the true nature of a Christian community. They had division (1:10-17); shame of the crucifixion (1:18-31); spiritual immaturity (chapter 2); rivalry and arrogance (chapter 3); immorality (chapter 5); lawsuits against each other (6:1-11); confusion about marriage (chapter 7); confusion about the spiritual significance of food (chapter 8); confusion about worship assemblies (chapters 11-14); and confusion about the resurrection (chapter 15).

Their problems attacked their sense of community. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

1. How are a physical body and Christ alike (verse 12)?

2. What diversity naturally existed in the Christian community (verse 13)?

3. The body is not what? It is what? Illustrate that fact. (verses 14-17)

4. This design for the Christian community was produced by whom (verse 18)?

5. If all Christians were exactly alike, what is impossible (verses 19,20)?

6. What must Christians never say to Christians unlike themselves (verses 21-25)?

7. How should Christians relate to one another (verses 25,26)?

8. How did Paul illustrate the diversity and interrelationship that God designed for the Christian community (verses 27-30)?

A congregation cannot exist and function as community if it fails to understand that it is to exist and function as a body. If it fails to be that body, that community, it fails to fulfill God's specific design.

Important thought question: we often insist that traditional functions and structures be preserved even when not mentioned in scripture. How serious is the failure when we fail to develop, nurture, and preserve a function and design clearly stated to be from God Himself?

David Chadwell

Christians Nurturing Christians Study Guide (lesson 4)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Summer Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
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